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Hope in the Harbor

My husband and I love to visit areas where ships clutter coastlines and the waters disappear into the horizon.  I am drawn to water, no matter the depth or type of coastline it is.  I love rivers, oceans, lakes, ponds, and creeks.  I’m the type of person that can’t just look at a body of water and enjoy the scenery.  I have to dip at least a toe or finger in it, even if it’s freezing cold.  But, if it’s warm or the chill isn’t unbearable, I have plunge into the water, even if I’m not properly clothed for it.  I’ve always been this way, my parents can attest to it from stories of me as a toddler, escaping their attention and jumping into a pool of water, clothes and all.   With that said, my husband loves ships, boats, and lighthouses.  He prefers to float on the water in a vessel or at least admire it from the shore.

I wonder if I’m just anxious for a vacation or if God’s trying to show me something today.  I think it’s a little of both.   This morning, I was praying and not really going anywhere with it.  I have so much on my mind right now and a lot of emotions and thoughts swirling around my head, so this blog post could cause a little seasickness to the reader.  Disclaimers are necessary in the world today!  Anyway, I was loading laundry into the washer, when I just felt like God spoke one word to me, that word was harbor.  I felt like he wanted me to explore that word, so I did.  It lead me to first look up the definition of the word, although I know the definition, but investigating it and chewing on it often leads to other thoughts.  There is a noun definition and a verb definition.  The noun definition is a place on the coast where vessels may find shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.  It is also a place to seek refuge.  So, thinking of harbors, I immediately think of mine and my husband’s love for them.  But, being a believer, I also think of God and Him being the place that I find shelter during the storms.  He is my refuge in all the emotional thoughts and feelings that I am having at this moment.  I think of sailors who are at sea and a storm comes upon them, they have to act quickly, but their thoughts are immediately on seeking out the horizon, trying to locate a place to dock their vessel, searching for safety.  The depths of the seas surround them; waves crash over the boats, the storms probably feel like they aren’t ever going to end.  I wonder how hopeless they feel when they see the strength of the ocean and understand they aren’t in control.  Then, how do they feel when they spot land, a lighthouse, a harbor with hope inviting them in?  I’m sure they feel relieved, glad, and thankful.  I think of myself and certain times in my life when I’m trying to ride the storms out without seeking direction or looking for refuge.  When I do that, I may feel in control for a little while, but then the severity of the storm hits me and I get scared and realize that I need a refuge, a savior, a harborharbor on the horizon.  With all that being said, I feel like God is just saying that I need to dock my vessel.  I need to tie up to His dock, rest, refuel, and await instructions for the next step.

However, there is also a verb definition for the word, harbor, in two forms as well.  The first is to keep (a thought or feeling, typically a negative one) in one’s mind, especially secretly or to have in mind a thought or feeling, usually over a long period of time.  With this definition, I start thinking, what am I harboring in my mind?  What bad thoughts are keeping me weighed down?  Is this why I feel like I’m drowning sometimes?   Is it worry, anger, doubt, self-pity, aggravation, or maybe a molotav cocktail of them all? Whatever it is, I know it’s not healthy for my soul.  The other verb definition is to protect someone by providing a place to hide.  This points to God again; he protects me and gives me a place to hide.  The scripture that I immediately think of when I think of this definition is Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”   In this, I know I have to give all my thoughts, feelings, and hurts that I’m harboring to God.  He will cover them and I’ll find refuge there.

The next passage that I was led to was Psalm 107.  I love this and have highlighted the theme of this blog today, but the whole passage is spiritually filling, I hope that it feeds you as well.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

    His faithful love endures forever.

2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!

    Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.

3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,

    from east and west,

    from north and south.[a]

4 Some wandered in the wilderness,

    lost and homeless.

5 Hungry and thirsty,

    they nearly died.

6 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he rescued them from their distress.

7 He led them straight to safety,

    to a city where they could live.

8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

9 For he satisfies the thirsty

    and fills the hungry with good things.

 

10 Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom,

    imprisoned in iron chains of misery.

11 They rebelled against the words of God,

    scorning the counsel of the Most High.

12 That is why he broke them with hard labor;

    they fell, and no one was there to help them.

13 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress.

14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom;

    he snapped their chains.

15 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

16 For he broke down their prison gates of bronze;

    he cut apart their bars of iron.

 

17 Some were fools; they rebelled

    and suffered for their sins.

18 They couldn’t stand the thought of food,

    and they were knocking on death’s door.

19 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress.

20 He sent out his word and healed them,

    snatching them from the door of death.

21 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving

    and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

 

23 Some went off to sea in ships,

    plying the trade routes of the world.

24 They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,

    his impressive works on the deepest seas.

25 He spoke, and the winds rose,

    stirring up the waves.

26 Their ships were tossed to the heavens

    and plunged again to the depths;

    the sailors cringed in terror.

27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards

    and were at their wits’ end.

28 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress.

29 He calmed the storm to a whisper

    and stilled the waves.

30 What a blessing was that stillness

    as he brought them safely into harbor!

31 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

32 Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation

    and before the leaders of the nation.

 

33 He changes rivers into deserts,

    and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.

34 He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,

    because of the wickedness of those who live there.

35 But he also turns deserts into pools of water,

    the dry land into springs of water.

36 He brings the hungry to settle there

    and to build their cities.

37 They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,

    and harvest their bumper crops.

38 How he blesses them!

    They raise large families there,

    and their herds of livestock increase.

 

39 When they decrease in number and become impoverished

    through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,

40 the Lord pours contempt on their princes,

    causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.

41 But he rescues the poor from trouble

    and increases their families like flocks of sheep.

42 The godly will see these things and be glad,

    while the wicked are struck silent.

43 Those who are wise will take all this to heart;

    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

 
 

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An Empty Vessel

Her heart was hollow and she stood unyielding to anyone that tried to reach out to her.

She was used to the insults flung at her by those who were supposed to love her.

She didn’t trust what people called love.

She heard their artificial claims and witnessed their cold shoulders.

 

Yet, she crossed my path.

I want to show her the love that My Father showed me.

So, I take the time to

Chisel….tap….stand back

Wait.

Pray.

Smile at her with an honest grin

And with eyes that hope,

With eyes that felt like she does….once upon a time.

Until, God shook me and showered me with love that wasn’t deserved,

A pure love, a real love.

I’m waiting for that cloudburst to drizzle upon her face

And fill that heart to capacity.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Poetry, Writing

 

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A Beautiful Mess

mess

Tear stained face with a bruised heart,
Sitting between walls of solitude
Falsely reasoning within herself
That no one understands.
She’s a complete mess
Who’s waiting to be mopped off the floor of her despair.

She listens to inner lies that have lingered from harsh words
That was spoken in quick temper or without thought.
The accusations, disappointments, the inability to achieve acceptance
Have created this complete mess
That is tangled in her mind.

Interwoven and pulsating from her veins
A need to be seen, heard, and most importantly loved.
He sees her and knows her.
He hears her questions and doubts.
Her heart is naked before Him, but she thinks He doesn’t see.
He knows that she isn’t a complete mess.
He knows how to mop her tears and untangle her mind.
He sees that she is a beautiful mess waiting to be cleaned up.
He’s awaiting the word from her to help.
He can’t help without her asking.
He watches and waits with a heart ready to gush out love.
His arms are ready to grab hold of her and untangle her mess,
He’s ready to recreate the pieces of her that is broken
Into His original masterpiece.

 

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Winter Storms

coldwaves“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8.

January is always tough for us. This January is even more so. They say when it rains it pours, that is so true. My husband and I own two small businesses. It’s wearing on you physically, spiritually, and emotionally when money trickles in and debt/income ratio is unbalanced. Adversity has reared its ugly head and it’s trying to make us falter. I’ll be honest; I just want to give up. But, I can’t. I’ve just got to push through and believe that God will make a way. When I’m stressed and at the end of my rope, only going to God will help sustain me. I thought of the above scripture in James. I always remember the first few verses, but decided to continue reading. First off, I will admit that I lack patience. I want my problems fixed immediately. I want answers right away. Problems and answers take time to be solved. I’m still learning and asking God to help me there. With the problems, I need to ask for wisdom. I need to in turn trust the wisdom that God has given me. Trust and not doubt! Oh doubt, how I hate you, yet I listen to your wretched voice. Doubt tosses me to and fro, making me not trust God. This is something I need to let God help me with. See in my impatience, I start doubting that God isn’t working. But, He is. Things look scary, I can only see the obvious but I’m supposed to have faith. I’m supposed to trust Him. I’m allowing doubt to toss me around; it’s causing me to be unstable. I know also that as bad as I feel and how huge I think my problems are that there are others in worse circumstances. But, I’m looking at what storm is over my head. God, help me to trust you. Help me to not be double minded. Help me to see that you are in the storm, walking on the sea. You are stretching your hand over me and my circumstance. You want me to trust you. Help me to trust and not doubt. Forgive me for doubting and allowing it to toss me along the waves.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou

“Struggle is the food from which change is made, and the best time to make the most of a struggle is when it’s right in front of your face.
“Now, I know that might sound a bit simplistic. But, too often we’re led to believe that struggling is a bad thing, or that we struggle because we’re doing something wrong.
I disagree. I look at struggle as an opportunity to grow. True struggle happens when you can sense what is not working for you and you’re willing to take the appropriate action to correct the situation. Those who accomplish change are willing to engage the struggle.”
― Danny Dreyer

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Romans 8:18-21

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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My Constant

I have never been a fan of change. I’m a creature of habit and when things tailspin out of my routine, I get upset and nervous. When I was a kid, I was super anxious prior to school starting because I didn’t know if I’d like my teacher or if I’d have classes with my friends. Stepping into the unknown has always been hard for me. I think most of us, can say that. When I went away to college my freshman year, I was both excited to be away from home and nervous to leave. I wanted to gain some independence from my parents and experience the world for myself. On the way down to college, I got sick. I couldn’t eat, I was scared that I wouldn’t adjust. But, I knew I had to adjust. Deep down I wanted change, I just was unsure of how much that change would cost me. It took about a month to get over being homesick and to adjust to my new surroundings. Once I adjusted, I didn’t want things to change. But, change is inevitable. After 2 1/2 years of being away at college, it was time to come back home. I didn’t want to come back, but I knew I had to. My time there was done. I got just as sick going back home as I did when I left home.

This weekend, our pastor announced a time for change for him. It was time for him to go back home. I know many people are scared of the things they can’t see on the horizon. I understand that, I’m in the same boat. We get attached to people, we don’t want them to leave, we’ve let our guard down and trusted someone. We tell ourselves when someone is leaving that we will never allow someone to get that close again. All of us are subject to attachments, but often separation occurs and we have to adjust. But, there are constants in our life that we have to remind ourselves about.

The bible says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus is a constant, man is not. We have to remember to trust him. He hasn’t changed. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not told you? Be strong and have strength of heart! Do not be afraid or lose faith. For the Lord your God is with you anywhere you go.” God is always with us, he hasn’t left us. Remember that when you are afraid. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time for everything under Heaven. Right now is a time of change, but remember again what is constant. Where is your hope? The future is unknown to us, but step into it because there is a guide to be by yours and my side. Romans 15:13 says “Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It’s ok to be afraid, just tighten your grip on the Lord’s hand. He’s there. He’s constant. father-child-holding-hands-e1327959452859

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Ready for New Things

Do you ever get tired of routines? Do you get tired of being in the same repetition or cycle of difficult circumstances? I personally hate repetition. I don’t even like repeats of movies or television, unless it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen it. I get bored with routine, although I always seem to fall into it. At first routine is comfortable, but then I start to get antsy because I want something different. I’m ready for new things. It may be because I see new life abounding around me because of springtime. It may be because it’s time for some things to change. I know that I’m certainly tired of feeling up against it, but that’s because I try to solve my own problems instead of letting God solve them for me. Pondering all these thoughts lead me to Isaiah 43. The first thirteen verses, God reminds Israel that He is beside them and that He is with them during tough circumstances. He is beside us to save us from these things. In verse eighteen, God says don’t think about the past. And the verse that helps me most today is nineteen, “See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Will you not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” I’m ready to see the road of escape that God has for me in my wilderness. I’m ready for the living water in my dry routine life. I’ve just got to remember that God is on this life journey with me, He wants me to not forget that He will lead me through it.

 
 

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Snapping The Pieces Together

ImageMy mood has been disconnected the past few days.  I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but I know I don’t like the way I feel.  My mind has been reveling in things I can’t change from the past.  That shouldn’t have a hold of me in the now, but sometimes thoughts creep up and it’s hard to shake it. Our current finances are tight too and that shouldn’t affect my mood so much, but it does. I decide to move away from my thoughts for a moment and sit in my son’s room while he puts together a Lego set.  He’s building and talking about various things.  I watch his fingers quickly snap the pieces together and form the pattern he’s following in the book.  I hand him pieces that are next in line and he says something that speaks to me immediately.  He says . “I’ve got a song stuck in my head that I don’t want there anymore.  Do you know how I can get it out?”  I quickly reply, “Sure, play a new song to cover the other.”  He says, “Yeah, but I don’t want any song there, so I guess I could just go to sleep and it’ll go away.” 

How many times am I like that?  Instead of replacing the song stuck in my head with a better song, I just decide to escape from it.  I should instead let God put a new song in my heart. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”  Psalm 40:1-3

I can’t lay in the pit and go to sleep.  I’m reaching out instead so He can lift me out of the pit and set my feet on a solid foundation.  My selfish foundation is a place where I sink, a place where I feel stuck, a place of dirt and filth.  I’ll open my mouth and sing the new song he has given me. 

 

 
 

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